Glynn County Firefighter David Turner
shows the oxygen tanks and tube he and his partner used to revive a
dog rescued from the first of two fires that broke out at a Sterling
mobile home Wednesday night. Officials suspect foul play.
(Photo by Michael Hall/The Brunswick
Arson is suspected in at least one of
two separate fires that broke out at a mobile home in Sterling just hours apart
Glynn County firefighters first
responded to the home of Nancy Johnson at 156 Deer Circle just before 9 p.m.,
where they found a fire burning on an outside deck. After containing the damage
to the deck and exterior back wall, two of them worked for nearly an hour to
revive one of Johnson’s three dogs.
Glynn firefighters David Turner and
David Brancel administered CPR to Johnson’s black Labrador retriever, Shadow,
after finding the dog unconscious from smoke inhalation.
“Basically, he was dead when we found
him, but we administered CPR and breathed for him for about 45 minutes until it
revived him,” Turner said.
Nancy Johnson, who could not be
reached Thursday, was described as a “big animal lover” by neighbors. She was
known to have three dogs, a 3-month-old kitten named Ziggy, and a parakeet, they
Only Shadow and the kitten survived.
Firefighters wrapped up their work
around 11 p.m. and remained on the scene another 44 minutes to make sure there
were no remaining embers that could re-ignite the blaze, said Capt. Jerome
Johnson of the Glynn County Fire Department.
But minutes after leaving the scene,
firefighters were called back to the same address at11:58 p.m. to find the
trailer on fire again.
“They got there the second time, and
the fire was fully involved,” Capt. Johnson said.
Officials had already determined the
first fire started when a smoker grill was left unattended on the back deck,
Capt. Johnson said.
Neighbor Steven Ridings plays with a
kitten that was rescued from the first of two fires that broke out
just hours apart at a mobile home in Sterling Wednesday night.
Ridings is trying to find the kitten a permanent home
(Photo by James Nix/The Brunswick News)
The cause of the second fire is under
investigation, but circumstances would suggest arson, Capt. Johnson said.
“The second fire is the one we
believe is arson because that first fire didn’t rekindle, especially not in 14
minutes,” he said.
Stephen Ridings, a neighbor, was
among the first to arrive when the first fire broke out. He attempted to put out
the deck fire with water from Johnson’s above-ground pool, he said.
“Then I kicked the door in to try and
save the dogs,” Ridings when Ziggy got out. They found him roaming around
Firefighters arrived as Ridings
kicked in the door, he said.
“They told me not to go in, so I got
out of their way,” he said. “I told them to please save the dogs, but by that
time I guess it was too late for all of them but Shadow.”
Nancy Johnson wasn’t home at the
time of the fires. Her daughter, Tammie Williams, said she can’t imagine who
would want to set fire to her mother’s home.
“My mom didn’t have any enemies,”
Williams said. “She is elderly and disabled. The worst thing is there was no
insurance on the house, and my mom lost everything.”
The trailer was in Williams’ name,
burned down two years ago and I lost everything, so this is my second time going
through all this,” Williams said.
moved her mother to Sterling from Mobile, Ala., after the death of her
stepfather in 2005 and has been caring for her ever since, she said.
really taken a toll on her,” Williams said.
said he was glad to have saved at least one of the said. “That must have been
really was a good feeling,” he said. “She was very upset, because she loved her
pets. We wanted to do something to help her keep at least one of them.”
Johnson and Shadow are staying with Williams in Brunswick. On Thursday, Williams
took the dog to a vet to be checked out.
said if he makes it through the next 48 hours, he’ll be OK,” she said of the
the neighbor, has taken in Ziggy, but only until he finds a permanent home for
the ball of fur. Anyone interested in adopting Ziggy may contact Ridings at